GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Juneteenth celebrates the ending of slavery in America and as of Thursday, it’s a federal holiday.

This means a number of places will be closed Saturday, like Greenfield Savings Bank.

“I think what’s really important is actually opening up the conversation about Juneteenth and people really understanding what that day means, what happened, and having that conversation,” said Shandra Richardson, the Senior VP & Senior Operations Officer Greenfield Savings Bank.

All branches of the bank will be closed, recognizing the significance of the holiday across the country as well as the local community.

“At Greenfield Savings bank we welcome everyone,” said Richardson. “We feel that the internal efforts that we’ve taken with our leadership team in our entire organization will reflect back to the community that we are inclusive and everyone is welcome.”

Welcoming people with a safe space to share a special Juneteenth lunch on Saturday is Kirsten Levitt.
She’s the executive chef at the Stone Soup Café, the local soup kitchen in Greenfield.

She said they made the decision to mark the holiday after the state of Massachusetts recognized it as a holiday.

“Black and brown people are not free here in the United States and we need to make sure their lives matter,” she told 22News. “And so Juneteenth is recognition, it’s a celebration and it’s also a time for us to recommit ourselves.”